Joseph Campbell wrote, “I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.”
I have to believe most people are looking for both or, perhaps, believe that one leads to the other. Not all will agree with this. I have a friend who is navigating a bunch of midlife transitions, and he recently told me that while he appreciates what we’re doing with the Modern Elder Academy, it’s too focused on “navel-gazing” for his tastes. I chuckled as I’ve got some serious lint in my navel. It hasn’t had a gaze for days!
Of course, I understand his concerns. When people talk about meaning or spirituality, they often imagine something abstract, ethereal, or self-absorbed. For me, spirituality is just another way of saying I am connected—joyfully connected to myself and something bigger than myself. You can call this the earth or the oceans, the sky or the heavens. Words don’t matter. What matters is that we feel the connection within ourselves and to the world around us. What matters is that we are connected to life and to being alive. And part of this aliveness is to find our gift and purpose and then to give it away joyfully.
It’s been said the unexamined life is not worth living, but maybe the unlived life is not worth examining. In other words, we need both.